Should we sell off half the oil reserve?

The federal government has stockpiled a massive amount of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  The purpose is to have an oil supply to keep the country going in the event of an emergency or shortfall (as in the Mideast Oil Embargo that was slapped on the United States back in 1973 for supporting Israel).

Now, as part of his budget proposal, President Trump wants to sell off half of the oil reserve.

Dumping such a large amount of oil into the market would send prices plummeting, which would not be good for America’s oil industry, which is finally recovering from the price fall of the last few years.  (So much for accusations that Trump serves the interests of big business.)  Consumers would presumably be happy, paying even less than today’s low prices.

Some are saying that America’s shale is a de facto oil reserve, though it would take time to ramp up production in an emergency.

Do you think Trump’s proposal is prudent, a good way to raise revenue to help make up for our budget deficit?  Or is it imprudent, like spending your savings account?
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Trump’s “taxpayer first” budget


President Trump has released his detailed budget proposal for 2018, an ambitious document that will encourage his supporters and enrage many of his critics.

His team was reportedly told to examine each line item and ask the question, “Would taxpayers want their money spent on this?”  The budget cuts many social welfare benefits and what was described as “feel good programs that don’t work.”

But it will save $3.6 trillion over ten years, at which time (2027) the federal budget will be balanced.  This, while still increasing defense spending and protecting Social Security.

Does a budget like this, described as a “taxpayer first” budget,  have a chance? [Read more…]

Trump’s budget

6629080867_016b010de5_zPresident Trump released his proposed budget.  It boosts defense spending, Veterans’ benefits, school choice, and homeland security.  But it dramatically slashes the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

It cuts most agency’s appropriations and eliminates some of them completely.  See the list of agencies and programs that Trump’s budget would eliminate entirely.

Among the entities that would be zeroed out are the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

You can read the entire budget proposal here.

Congress, including its Republican members, are criticizing the “draconian” cuts.

Those Republicans have been talking for years about the need to cut the budget and to pare back all of the things our government has become involved with, at great expense.  And yet this is the first Republican budget I can recall that actually made those changes.

Let me comment on one sacred cow that is being sacrificed:  the National Endowment for the Arts.  Some are saying, if the NEA ceases to exist, the arts will be doomed!  But the arts thrived before the NBA got started under the Johnson administration.  In fact, the arts were surely more interesting and even more experimental and controversial back then–think of surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and you name the movement–when artists were competing for audiences rather than federal grants. [Read more…]

Trump’s “America first” budget

Pentagon_satellite_imagePresident Trump will submit a budget that he says will put “America first.”  Defense spending will jump 10%, a $54 billion increase.  That money will come from what we used to spend for foreign aid and from big cut-backs to most other federal agencies.

Law enforcement and Veterans’ benefits will also get more money.  Trump vowed that Social Security and Medicare will not be cut.

Details about the cuts to other agencies and services will be announced later.  Those may prove quite dramatic.  Look for some agencies, such as the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, to get eliminated altogether.

Also coming later will be the president’s tax plan.  He has promised a big tax cut, which will put further pressure on the need to cut spending.

The military has been somewhat neglected financially during the Obama years, but if we are going to put America first, cut back on foreign entanglements, and insist that other countries defend themselves instead of expecting America do it, do we really need to spend so much more on our military?  Or does this military increase signal that America will continue to project its power on the world scene?  Or does it mean that we are building a defensive wall, so to speak, around our country so that nobody dare attack us?

UPDATE:  Tonight President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress at 9:00 p.m. ET.  Democrats are planning to pack the gallery with immigrants, Muslims, and Meryl Streep.  Expect lots of booing and jeering, trying to make the President lose his cool.  But he will probably be announcing his Congressional agenda, so this will be important.   I’ll put up a post tonight if you want to comment on the address as it unfolds–I may or may not take part in that–or discuss it afterwards.
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